A lot of associations struggle to provide consistent communication without comprising on the independence of each chapter. There are two different structural approaches; a top-down approach, where local chapters don’t have much autonomy and websites and social media are handled by national, or a more casual approach, where chapters are left to do their own thing. Both options can cause issues. 

Without a unified voice, communications can lack consistency. However, the top-down approach can deprive chapters of having a voice of their own, and they may not feel valued. Thankfully, a middle ground can be reached, with minimal resources. 


Your communications document


Have a document that clearly outlines the goals of your association, the missions, corporate plan, and other key details. Include a branding guideline, with details on how any brand assets should be used locally, and a social media policy.

Your chapters can make use of this document at any time, so it needs to give them some underlying structure and a foundation to work from. A guide like this allows each chapter to maintain its independence while still being a recognizable part of the whole association. 

A strong communications document should soon improve what your chapters are doing to reach their own communities and promote you. 

A set of rules might sound counterproductive, but they can allow chapters to be more independent. This is because chapters can be cautious about social media, and are often fearful of getting it wrong. With no structure, they can’t take advantage of the power of social media, but structure can encourage them to drive engagement in a more effective way. 



Managing chapters


It is better to empower your chapters with tools that will allow them to manage themselves online, such as Billhighway, instead of managing everything yourself from the top down. There are lots of tools out there that will allow you to do this, that can manage everything from individual websites to finances, to memberships. It’s well worth looking into these, so you can keep an eye on everything, but let chapters organize some key details for themselves. 

When looking for these tools, there are some key features to look for. Of course, you want something that is user-friendly and simple to set up and use. Some of these tools are made only for parent organizations, and you want something with options for chapters too, so you can allow chapters to have some level of autonomy. 

A scalable option is also a good idea. As the parent, you can create your own things like a website with high-conversion landing pages, a database, an email tool, and finance options. From here, you can create smaller versions for chapters, such as their own landing pages. This gives them more autonomy but keeps them integrated with the parent association. 

Look for options that allow you to share themes and branding, import contact details from databases, and post bulletins for association-wide announcements. These will let you keep consistency without taking too much control. 


(Disclaimer: This content is a partnered post. This material is provided as news and general information. It should not be construed as an endorsement of any investment service. The opinions expressed are the personal views and experience of the author, and no recommendation is made.)